Monday, 8 February 2010


There's hardly anything more exquisite than eating snow.
When we were kids, for some strange reason we were forbidden that; otherwise I doubt I would bother to try. The reasoning behind was something with snow being dirty and containing ebil bacteria... although I believe that even a first grader would be aware that yellow or gray snow is not the bestest.
I happily keep the habit of eating snow when I have the chance. The best way is to pick it straight from some branch or fence of handy height; firn is made of rather large and round ice grains joined with water while freshly fallen snow is like feathers and the feeling of something special be enhanced by remembering that every snowflake is unique - you never get two identical bites.
No, snow doesn't have any taste. It isn't tasteless in the way one would speak of tasteless food, i. e. bland, it doesn't have any taste at all, only texture. Go try and be fascinated yourself.


This is a refillable flacon of Opium.

I got it from the internetz, as an empty bottle, and I got some Guerlain in the bee bottle from the same seller who poured the Eau du Coq into the Opium bottle. Which is not important as such, I'm telling it only to demonstrate that there should be a way how to open the case of indefinable gilded metal.
Yesterday I was poking the thing, pulling and screwing here and there and I didn't find a way how to get inside.
Now, dear readers, do you by chance know?

Sunday, 7 February 2010


I don't really remember where I learned about the existence of Asja. I however do remember the hunt – it has been discontinued for a while, they still had it at a few discounters but whenever I placed an order, the response was Oops, out of stock so the hunt started. Not that it wouldn't be available here and there but I wanted it for a civilized price.
After some time, I succeeded. Meantime, I grabbed a few minis which I've been using until three days ago when someone asked me for a decant and I found that both the spray nozzles in both of my bottles refuse to work.
Due to the necessary poking and prodding to get the substance out of the bottle, I had a chance to sniff this fragrance more than I would have planned... so.
Fruity oriental, created by Jean Guichard, launched in 1992 and sadly, discontinued for quite a while and never to appear again – LVMH got hold of the Fendi perfume division and axed it all.

Asja is one of the fragrances that are so well constructed that they are almost seamless – no accords sticking out. Upon closer scrutiny, it appears that the fragrance is based on honey, vanilla and soft sweet resins. The fruits are there, none of them any prominent, though, and the soapy rose and lily of the valley are somewhat discernible, too. Thanks to this soapyness and a generous dose of eugenol (think of carnation, good part of rose and some clovebuds), Asja is wearable pretty well even in summer, which I frequently did. Where Opium becomes a weapon of mass destruction, Asja was still pleasing, in a different way than in winter.
Another slight drawback of Asja, along with the not-exactly-excellent spray nozzle design is the lack of lasting power, maybe that's another reason why it keeps being wearable even in summer. It stays longer on fabric or paper than on skin (1) but beware, the juice is very orange, don't spray on light-coloured fabrics.
I've found remarks here and there that Asja is very Lutensesque РI cannot really judge because I never really fell for Serge Lutens with the exception of Feminit̩ du Bois (the Shiseido version with lots of bois and hardly any feminit̩) and since this is the only Lutens fragrance I own, I found a bottle to check, without actually believing that there would be any apparent affinity. Well, there is. There is some superficial similarity in the scent as such, I'd say, but also something about the style. I guess these two will make a good mix, which I'll try someday soon.

Now, all things shiny. The bottle! It looks indeed exquisite on pictures and I coined an image of heavy black glass, or rather very deep purple or red, so deep that it appears to be black, with gold print. The reality wasn't that impressive, the bottle is encased in two plastic shells but still it reminds a piece of Japanese work in lacquer if you back away a few metres and it's a misty evening, in other circumstances, it's just plainly cool. Says me who would vote for rectangular bottles of clear glass because most of the 'creative' flacons tend towards ugly. I have a slight tendency to love the overdone. I also solemnly promise to dig up the boxes in red, black and gold, to update you on the whole concept that seems to refer to a ball in the Opera. I haven't found a mention that Asja would be ever made in extrait but I can well imagine the flacon – finally that gold stamped glass – and a faux lacquer coffret. Neither have I found the designer of the packaging, should someone know, let me know.

If you only vaguely like orientals, Asja is a must at least to try.

Asja was made in eau de toilette in sizes of 20, 40 and 75 ml and it's sometimes seen at discounters, dusty corners of very local drugstores and at auction sites.

Friday, 5 February 2010

The Perfumista challenge

On Tuesday, I think, the samples from Pat of Olfactarama arrived.
Also, I got my new laptop. Not that I needed one, we were just getting some new stuff and I was offered an upgrade. It took some time because I'm just a stupid blonde and the times when I knew all the technical details about all computers on the market are long gone. It must be noted that it was around 1992, when 'all computers on the market' meant four.
So, I stated that I need something that can be dragged around without too much care, something that will support my photoshop related needs and that it better be pretty. Upon hearing 'pretty', the boss made a disgusted face and sent me off with the IT guy to find something. The IT guy is a bit of a lazyass so he showed me a website of the local computer retailer and told me to pick somehting. I was rather lost so I decided to play the prank of pretty to the full and printed out something on the pink Asus, saying that I don't get the geeky stuff but, well, I would maybe like this one. The boss and I had a good laugh and off I went to do whatever I was to do. Meantime, the IT guy got his dose of being yelled at that he was to help me pick a laptop and he even didn't notice that I wanted a pink one. Alas, the IT type, who failed to grasp my sense of humour since the 15-ish years we know each other, took it seriously and now I'm known as the one who wanted a pink laptop.
Erm, well, I got an ordinary black one and then the troubles started. Not because the new lappy is black, so was the previous one, but...
Well, I've been around computers since 1992. A plain user but not an idiot. And, as a plain user and occasional graphic designer since pliocene, I hold Views. Like, that things should be simple and convenient. I saw the Windows Vista once and they nearly made me vomit because they were so full of pretty and cute and shiny. So imagine my terror when I saw my new computer with things installed and it looked like Vistas, including the floating and pulsing elements. I thought I had died and gone to hell but instead of screaming first, I simply asked what the fuck and if someone could take the thing away from my computer or else I don't touch it with a long stick. The IT type started explaining that I'm a Luddite and that everything evolves, win 7 are so exquisitely and unimaginably more user friendly than anything before, blah, blah, but I insisted that I don't care that it only looks like Vistas but inside, it's much better, that whatever it may be, I don't want to look at it and now excuse me while I bleach my eyes. I suspect that I surpassed the public notion of computer idiocy I had created with the pink laptop but apparently, IT type recognized that matters may be serious and changed the layout to something he claimed to be almost the same as XP and said that I was crazy.
Now, user friendly. I think DOS is user-friendly enough, just for the record. I want to go up from my folder, not back in search history, if I'm to have the win thingies. Also, I don't need my crap localized. Which doesn't mean Oh noez, you don't need to bother to find the local language settings for me, I'll manage with tears and suffering in English. It means Gimme my stuff in civilized language with civilized industrial standards that make sense, not that heap of shit translated by a demented chimpanzee.
I spent two days headdesking in utter frustration, not being able to find anything - obviously, the first thing I did was uninstalling firefox and then using Explorer for the only thing it's good for, downloading any other browser, in my case firefox in English (1) and then I was at least marginally able to function.
Still, I feel an urge to make a quilted cushion that says HEADDESK and place it next to my computer so that I save my forehead the worst.
Now, three days later, I'm still very unhappy. The wide screen is totally useless for weirdos like me who couldn't care less for 3D games, I'd prefer a high screen so that I can have something in photoshop... well, taller and bigger. I'll try to catch my architect friend who is more computer-savvy than our IT guy to check if he can make the win 7 look like xp. The thing is, I have very visual memory. In general, I don't have much clue how my folders and files are named. I only know where they are - visually. Mess up the looks of the filing systems and I'll be moreless helpless. So, if re-doing it visually doesn't help, I'm downgrading. Call me a fossil - I am one, after all. And I don't care.

Sure, I wanted to write about Pat's perfume creations but I got carried away. Sorry, next time.


(1) I hear there are better browsers but firefox has better logo.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Quand vient la pluie

Yeah, this one. Almost half a litre of extrait.

The picture won't get any better, the bottle got split and decants are already mailed in all the directions. On Sunday, I and Domenica, who sort of organized it (although some of the gals started arguing that they got the idea first, that they mentioned it first etc.) met, decanted, got ready for mailing and then had a bottle of wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon from Moldova.
The Guerlain people could rething the big bottle, though. It's that sort that calls for relabelling it 'cherry brandy' and filling it with anti-freeze (1). And, I don't have a clue how is one supposed to pour it from the bottle to the tiny lovely flacon because the big bottle is full nearly to the brim and in order not to spill the contents, one needs to pour it rather vigorously. My table will smell of chocolate violets for quite a time, I guess.
I have a cold so I can only provide a cursory impression: Quand vient la pluie has nothing to do with rain, it's violets and bitter chocolate and I could imagine it as excellent bonbons. And, it blends perfectly well with Dzongkha which I happened to wear yesterday in the chocolate violets impregnated room.

I'm a magpie and I like all things shiny, which is no news to anyone who knows me at least a little bit. So... Quand vient la pluie comes with a round spray bottle and a bottle holder in the shape of a brick with leaf imprinted. Big one for extrait, with a bejewelled bottle, while eau de parfum gets a smaller brick of glass and plain bottle. Domenica owns the edp and brought it for comparison.

I got hold of the glass brick (2), now it sits on my table and it's being pretty. I think I could tie a piece of string through the flacon-holding hole and use it as an assault weapon, should it be needed. And yeah, I have a red table. It was on sale in Ikea... sometimes money wins over taste.

Quand vient la pluie was a limited release in 2007 and it may still be available at Maison Guerlain. Or not anymore.

(1) It's an old joke: Darling, where is the vinegar? Oh, you old fool, between the cleaning stuff, in a wine bottle labelled Developer.
And, my jams are in yoghurt or mayonnaise jars, we're a recycling household. In other words, unless you're absolutely sure, it's recommended to at least sniff every container or you find yourself being suffocated by truffle oil in the pharmacy bottle that says it holds some skin ointment, knowing that I use used pharmacy bottles for perfumes... or drinking the infamous thermonuclear calvados brandy and wondering why the Martini is so strong. And I'm not mentioning turpentine.
(2) because it's shiny